NEW YORK – Former Phillies third baseman Scott Rolen was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday by five votes for saving more than the 75% required.
The seven-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove winner earned his sixth appearance on the ballot, receiving 297 of 389 votes cast by the Baseball Writers Association of America with 76.3 percent. A player needs 292 votes for election.
He became the 18th third baseman elected to the Hall, the youngest of any position. Rolen will join Fred McGriff, who was selected by the Modern Baseball Era Committee last month, as the July 23 inductees in Cooperstown.
“You don’t think about it. You intend to do your best.” Rollen said. “I never thought the Hall of Fame would be the answer.”
Rolen had a .281 batting average with 316 homers and 1,287 RBIs for Philadelphia (1996-2002), St. Louis (2002-07), Toronto (2008-09) and Cincinnati (2009-12). He was a unanimous choice as the 1997 NL Rookie of the Year and hit .421 as the Cardinals won the 2006 World Series.
Rolen’s five-vote margin is tied for the 12th-smallest among players selected by writers, and 76.3% of the vote is the 10th-lowest. Rolen is up from 63.2% last year and 10.2% in 2018’s first poll appearance.
That later became the lowest first-round pick percentage of any player selected. The previous mark was Duke Snyder’s 17% in 1970. Snyder won 86.5% of the vote in 1980.
First baseman Todd Helton was second with 281 votes (72.2%) and shortstop Billy Wagner was third with 265 (68.1%). Helton is up from 52% and can make five more games on the ballot, while Wagner is up from 51% and has two more chances.
Several others also saw big increases: Andrew Jones from 41.1% to 58.1%, Gary Sheffield from 40.6% to 55% in his next and likely final year, and Jeff Kent moved from 32.7% to 46.5% in his final year. Kent will likely be considered by the Modern Baseball Era committee in later years.
Players tainted by drug bans have been delayed again. Alex Rodriguez is up 35.7%, up from 34.3%, and Manny Ramirez is up 33.2%, up from 28.9%.
After 10 consecutive years of BBWAA membership, eight blank ballots were cast by eligible writers to vote.
Of the 14 first-time players on the ballot, only two reached the 5% threshold required for next year’s consideration. Carlos Beltran received 181 votes (46.5%), an overall 2017 World Series title likely influenced by his role in the Houston Astros cheating scandal.
Relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez received 42 votes (10.8%).
First-round picks next year include Adrian Beltre, Joe Moyer, David Wright, Jose Bautista and Matt Holliday.